E-Proxies By JJ Hiew, Condominium Director Co-Founder of Get Quorum, getquorum.com
The Proxy of the Future
“We’re not going to make quorum.” These are words that no condo director ever wants to hear. Yet this is what we heard at our monthly board meeting and it was three weeks before our AGM. You could see the dread start to form in the eyes of all of the board members. Our AGM numbers had been steadily dropping and last year we only met quorum by the skin of our teeth. This year, one or both of the following were going to happen: 1) We would hold the meeting, find out we missed quorum, have to adjourn, and reschedule it for a month down the line. 2) We (the directors) would be spending our evenings and weekends canvassing owners to collect as many proxies as possible.
For a fiscally conservative board comprised of introverted volunteer directors, none of those options sat well.
When I get home from work, I prefer to spend my spare time in sweatpants binge watching Netflix.
Rescheduling a meeting is expensive. It costs our condo a few thousand dollars to hold a meeting - among other expenses, there is the notice package mail out, fees for the minute taker and auditor, and event space rental because we do not have the facilities to host a meeting on site. There is also all the time and work that is wasted for the board, management and owners who show up in-person ready to meet.
With that, a thought came to mind, “A proxy is just a form, why don’t we just collect it online? Why can’t we have a secure web form that our owners can use?” Within a week, I set up an electronic form that captured the elements of an owner’s proxy. This electronic proxy was to act as a complement to the paper proxy that was included with the AGM package. Instead of canvassing door-to-door, we distributed the electronic proxy to our owners by email.
With much chagrin, the discussion at our board meeting inevitably turns to canvassing: who is going to knock on doors on which floors on which days, and who is going to sit in the lobby between what times to try to salvage the meeting as originally scheduled. Ugh.
Are Electronic Proxies Even Legal? That is the first question I get asked when I talk about electronic proxies. “Yes, if it fulfils the requirements in the Condo Act for the proxy to be valid.” says Patrick Greco, Partner at Miller ThomCONDOVOICE SUMMER 2016
ILLUSTRATION BY TOMIO NITTO
How Electronic Proxies Helped My Condo Get Quorum